How to Get an End-of-the-Year Massage

On the first day of break, your children are scheduled to go celebrate the holidays with their father, so you are both child-free and using-or-losing your vacation days. You wake and usher the children out of the van to their schools with a cheerful, “See you on Christmas Day! Have fun with your cousins! I love you!”

Then you go home, prepared to shave your leg forest and polish your toenails because the last time you did either of those things, you were still wearing sundresses.

But when you walk in the door, you start to feel funny and think, “I’ve got three hours until the massage. maybe a quick nap?”


For about fifteen minutes. Sprint to the bathroom grabbing a plastic mixing bowl because dual eruptions! You make it to the toilet in time, thank all of the things good and holy. But, it turns out that you are really, really sick. Like, blood-pressure-dropping-precipitously-when-you-vomit sick. That sick.

So sick that you start musing, “Wow! I’m very cold! What the heck? Why is my face so cold?” and your eyes open and focus on the underside of your sink. You are freezing because you have passed out, bare-assed; your face is resting on the very cold ceramic tile of your bathroom. Repeat this four times over the next six hours, but not before you call to reschedule your massage.

Spend that day in bed and the next one, too, because you’re weak and stinky and, for some perverse reason, craving Ramen noodles.

On day three, take a shower and who knew that clean hair could make you feel so human again? Use the day to wrap presents for your children because you love them a bit. Clean the living room because your dad and his wife are coming on Christmas Eve and you are going to a fancy restaurant because none of you wants to cook, but all of you want to eat.

Except that your dad isn’t coming because his elderly mother-in-law is hospitalized for influenza. Send them your love and good wishes for a speedy recovery, then remember that you have no food in the house for Christmas Eve because you were going fancy-fancy. Go to the local grocery store and buy a turkey pot-pie, pre-made rice pudding, and 6 peel-and-eat shrimp. Get in line at the check-out between a neighbor with an overflowing cart and a former co-worker with an overflowing cart. You don’t even have a basket.

Binge watch “Longmire.” Eat your shrimp. Invent a drink and call it a “Candy Cane.” The recipe: vodka, peppermint schnapps, ½ and ½, and a mini-candy cane stolen from the Christmas tree to stir it. Drink it from your elephant mug (the Christmas present you gave yourself) because it reminds you of your grandmother.

Wake up Christmas morning at the crack of dawn because the kids will be coming home! Play Santa. Eat Santa’s cookie, forget to leave crumbs. Eat another cookie to get crumbs for the Santa cookie plate.

After time stretches and noon feels like midnight, greet your happy children. Enjoy the afternoon, thoroughly, enjoy the evening thoroughly, enjoy the night thoroughly until your twins separately climb into bed with you. Sleep the rest of the night on the couch because there is no room in your bed. Be thankful you have healthy, happy children, and beds in which each of them should sleep, even if they refuse to acknowledge this. Repeat the day after Christmas.

Two days after Christmas, spring awake because it is the day to which your massage has been rescheduled! Hallalujah!

Take a shower, shave your everything you can reach. Brush your teeth. Get dressed and realize you’re down to your last pair of clean undies, so you’re wearing your ratty spare pair. Dismiss this thought because you always go fully nude on the massage table and you can just hide those suckers under the cup of your bra.

Get to the massage place, disrobe, and climb on to the table. Use the massage to reflect philosophically on the year – each knot she releases lets go of a piece of flotsam from the year. Wonder why the massage therapist is uncharacteristically stopping everything at your waist.

Discover that you forgot to remove your ratty laundry-day underwear.


12 thoughts on “How to Get an End-of-the-Year Massage

  1. I liked your use of second-person and how it allowed you to use all of those imperative sentences.
    Also, I’ve been cultivating my own leg forest since swimming season concluded, so I could relate.

  2. Love the use of second person here. I loved almost the whole thing. On a personal level, it was hard for me to make it through the beginning where you got sick. Could be just me, but it made me very queasy. I did find the Santa’s cookies part and the candy cane part quite humorous, though.
    Danielle Dayney recently posted…Early NightsMy Profile

  3. OMG. I crave Ramen when I’m tummy sick, too! Someone told me it’s because our sodium and potassium get all whacky when we have “dual eruptions.” Again, your writing speaks right to my brain–like talking to an old fried.
    lisa recently posted…The Not So Silent NightMy Profile

  4. Very well written.
    As commenters have suggested above, the use of second person works fabulously well here. I also enjoyed the multiple uses of the word “ratty” here! Some of your phrases were highly enjoyable. Case in point — “Wonder why the massage therapist is uncharacteristically stopping everything at your waist.”
    Ram Murali recently posted…Afloat in New WatersMy Profile

  5. Loved the use of second person here! It works so well to get me involved in this little slice of life. I could really relate with the ratty underwear part! I’m sitting here at the massage parlour ready for my last one of the year and keep thinking, “please remember to take them off. Please remember-” lol
    Melony recently posted…The Spirit WarriorMy Profile

  6. I’m so sorry you were sick. That is the worst (I say as I battle strep). I actually appreciated that you were so up front about your illness. It gave the piece a sense of realism and authenticity.
    Michelle recently posted…DutyMy Profile

  7. I adore this candid and honest look at being a working mama. That you ended on a humorous note tells so much about you. I related to this story from first word to last.

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